In June 1836, the Rev. Frederick Hatch began serving as rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Poughkeepsie, In October of that same year, he reported that he was also holding services on Sunday afternoons at Pleasant Valley, “Where the assemblage has been large and the people much interested in the services.”
Mill workers in Pleasant Valley, many of English descent, met and incorporated as a Sunday School. On February 27, 1837 the parish of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Pleasant Valley, NY was incorporated as a congregation. At first, they gathered in the home of one of the founding members. It had been the custom of local Episcopalians to attend church at St. Paul’s on Mansion Street in Poughkeepsie and over time it had been decided that a local place of worship would be more convenient. By Spring of 1842, with the aid of a $500 loan from Trinity Church, Broadway in New York City, the groundwork had been laid for our present church building dedicated to St. Paul, at the corner of Traver and what became Route 44. For some time, the priest at St. Paul’s in Poughkeepsie also served our church.
The cornerstone of the church building, located at the corner of Traver Road and Main Street (Route 44), was laid on December 10, 1841 and the church building was initially funded by grace of a loan from Trinity Church, Wall Street. By this time, the Rev. Sheldon Davis had assumed duties here and on January 25, 1843, the church building was consecrated by the Rt. Rev. Benjamin T. Onderdonk, Bishop of New York. On Easter Sunday 1848, the Rev. Sheldon Davis was appointed Missionary of Duchess County, where he served until 1863. The Rev. George Henry Smith became the next rector in February 1869. He remained until 1876. Missionaries filled in for short tenures throughout the remainder of the 19th century.
In 1973, St. Paul’s reached its goal of being a self-supporting parish. The Pleasant Valley parish celebrated its 150th year with special events throughout 1987, culminating in a special celebration on October 18, 1987. The Rev. Ellen O’Hara began serving as rector of St. Paul’s on November 30, 1997 and served here until retiring in 2012. The Rev. Megan E. Sanders began her service as rector of this congregation in May 2015. Our work as a parish continues, fueled by our commitment to be faithful disciples of Jesus in this place. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Pleasant Valley, NY currently serves approximately 190 members. Come and see!
At present, in our life together as Christians who adhere to the teaching and discipline of the Episcopal Church, a member of the World Wide Anglican Communion, we evince much the same character of our spiritual ancestors.
We worship together each week at a service of the Holy Eucharist according to the form of The Book of Common Prayer, 1979. We study hard to discern God’s will for us as we examine Holy Scripture and other appropriate writings. We teach our children, preparing them for a life of obedience to God. We work hard together to support our congregational needs. We play together, enjoying each other’s company.
St. Paul’s Church in Pleasant Valley currently serves about 190 members. Like the “Little Engine That Could” St. Paul’s weathers challenges with a vital sense of trust in God and a cheerful, “can-do” spirit. Our small numbers and high concern for each other’s wellbeing mark us as a family style church, one which attempts to meet the standard of demonstrating our love for God by actively showing love for our neighbor.